Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Merest of Babes

The Mass readings for today (Tuesday after 1st Sunday of Advent, year B1: Is 11:1-10; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Lk 10:21-24) are really nice. The first one, from the prophet Isaiah, is fine, and the second one from Luke is one of my very favorites. It articulates the topsy-turvy logic of the Gospel in which the whole thought of the city of man is turned upside down. Below, I've copied it out of the RSV translation because it sounds a bit nicer to my ears than the lectionary.

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it," (Lk 10:21-24).

Think about that, folks. Children! Your kids understand Jesus better than you do. At another place, Jesus says that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom ahead of the pharisees. To us, pharisee is a bad word. Not so for them. We often compare the pharisees to lawyers, politicians, or priests. None of those is comparable though, because they have bad connotations in our ears. Maybe expert is a better way to think of them. Jesus is basically saying that tax collectors and prostitutes are finding peace of conscience, joy of life, and the faith, hope, and love that leads into eternal life. And we're not. We don't get it, or else we're getting it pretty late.

We think we're good, we think we know how Jesus thinks and works, we think we've got life under control. Children know that they need help. "Daddy, can you tie my shoe?" A drug addicted prostitute lying in a gutter knows that she needs help. She might even know that help's name is Jesus (it literally means "salvation" in Hebrew!). But we are smug and sit in the train station thinking that we are conducting the salvation train, and so it leaves the station without us. How many of us, perhaps unbeknownst to even ourselves, feel that we are somehow doing Jesus a favor by going to church. It makes me think of the ancient pagan idea of feeding the gods with sacrifices of the flesh of goats and bulls.

Lol. But we have a God who wants to feed us with His own immortal flesh. Are we humble enough to just listen, like a little child? Or are we, in our smugness, going to say, "Lord, Lord!" while harboring an attitude that blinds us to His love, Him who the prophets yearned to see? Lol. And when we see Him, will we be too concerned with what others thing, too cool and sophisticated and mature, to let ourselves respond wholeheartedly? Children are better than adults again in that they are more naive, and simpler. It was fun to watch even some very sophisticated and hip sixteen year olds' jaws drop when we brought them to the forest for a hike, to see them climb trees and play on the rocks. Are we too sophisticated and "mature" to enjoy the Kingdom of God?

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